Reported by SARAH TAYLOR | October 25, 2021
Authorities arrested a “reformed” child sex offender after he was busted for a variety of child sex abuse crimes that purportedly took place as late as 2020. The suspect, 45-year-old Derrick Crooms, was previously placed on a child sex abuse registry following similar convictions in 1996, but was able to persuade a judge to remove his name from the registry in 2017 after claiming he was reformed and led a good and decent life.
Earlier in October, federal marshals in conjunction with the Newton and Oconee County Sheriff’s offices took Newton County, Georgia, resident Crooms into custody and charged him with two counts each of incest, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated child molestation, and child molestation, plus one count of enticing a child for indecent purposes. He is being held without bond in the Newton County Detention Center at the time of this reporting.
In a statement on the arrest, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lindsay Marchant said that the agency began investigating Crooms in December 2020.
“In December 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit received a request for assistance from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation of numerous sex offenses against children by Crooms,” Marchant said in the news release. “The investigation revealed that these crimes allegedly occurred in Newton County, Georgia, as well as several different locations throughout the United States.”
One of Crooms’ previous victims — who was instrumental in helping capture him in 2020 — spoke out in response to the new charges, according to WAGA-TV.
Jeanie Fulcher, now 34, said, “He took my innocence when I was seven. I don’t know if you can ever really heal from that.”
Fulcher said that in 2017, Crooms was successfully able to petition a judge to remove his name from the sex offender list despite her begging and pleading otherwise.
“Their argument was that he was a changed man and he was a model citizen that didn’t get in trouble anymore, hasn’t committed crimes since,” she said.
She added, “I do think that our justice system has failed us. I believe that once you plead guilty to raping children, molestation charges, you shouldn’t get out of prison at all. You shouldn’t get a second chance.”
Crooms served just four years of his 20-year sentence before being released from prison in connection with the 1996 convictions.